Once upon a time genteel older ladies concealed their love of gin by hiding a nifty nip or two in a respectable looking teapot, dispensing it into an equally unassuming tea cup. At the recent Sloane’s Gin Twisted Tradition Cocktail Competition the china tea cup was back on the agenda to winning effect, but this time in the hands of a groovy young bartender (albeit aided and abetted by his granny).
Granny Sloane’s Tea Time Tipple clinched first prize for Robin Webb of 64th & Social in Clapham – the delicious, tea-infused concoction was served in a lovely old cup and saucer set, courtesy of his proud grandmother, along with a homemade biccy on the side crafted by the man himself.
Joining Simon Webster of BarLifeUK, Joel Harrison from Caskstrength and Joel Constantino the newly appointed Brand Ambassador for Sloane’s Gin, at The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker, we had the difficult but, it has to be said, incredibly enjoyable task of deciding who was doing the most original things with the award-winning gin inspired by master botanist Hans Sloane.
Contenders from around the UK were vying for our attention with mind-boggling historical knowledge, clever creations and quirky serves – yes, one cocktail was actually proffered in a miniature bath tub (and very good it was too – if a little difficult to drink).
But it was Mr Webb who stood out with his creation, taking the unique character of the Sloane’s Gin and highlighting it deftly in his drink, along with some witty attention to detail in the serve – topping off the tea connection with a particularly tasty macaroon garnish.
Second place went to Matteo Corsalini of Restaurant 34 in Mayfair who plumped for an every-so-slightly more traditional serve with his very tasty creation The Botany. While a very creditable third place went to the lovely Ash Bovey from the Sahara Bar in Reading, for A Natural Curiosity a drink which was disarmingly simple with hidden depths of flavour.
All three will shortly be getting whisked off for a no doubt highly cultural fact-finding mission to Holland, home of the Sloane’s Gin distillery. In the meantime, we recomended trying your hand at the the three serves we sampled. And we won’t deduct points for shop bought macaroons…
Grandma Sloane’s Tea Time Tipple
50ml Sloane’s Gin – steeped with Vanilla Rose pouchong (black tea) for 10 mins
25ml lemon juice
10ml rose syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Dry shake, then hard shake over cubed ice. Serve straight up in grandma’s best bone china. Garnish with a vanilla macaroon and a quick spray of violet essence.
Robin Webb, 64th & Social
64 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UL. T: 020 7627 2535. 64thsocial.com.
Fresh mint, lemon thyme and lemon verbena mixed together
45 ml of Sloane’s Gin
15 ml of Martini Bianco Vermouth
15 ml of Suze Gentian Liqueur
15 ml of elderflower cordial
2 drops of dandelion and burdock bitters
Stir with ice for no more than 15 seconds and double strain into a frozen coupette. Garnish with a lemon balm leaf.
Matteo Corsalini, Restaurant 34
34 Grosvenor Square, W1K 2HD. T: 020 3350 3434. 34-restaurant.co.uk.
A Natural Curiosity
60ml Sloane’s Gin
15ml home-made coriander seed/lemon rind syrup*
7.5ml Green Chartreuse
3 dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
4-6 mint leaves
Shake all ingredients, fine strain into pre-chilled coupette garnish with a lemon zest.
*Coriander seed/lemon rind syrup – make a 2:1 ratio sugar syrup, whilst still warm add two barspoons of coriander seeds and the rind of one fresh lemon. Leave to steep for 3-4 days then remove.
Ash Bovey, Sahara Bar
1 Gun Street, Reading, W. Berkshire RG1 2JR. T: 0118 956 0666. saharabars.co.uk.